More than 2,000 new coronavirus cases have emerged in the UK overnight, with more than 100 new deaths declared.
The Department of Health issued Thursday’s update just moments after the Chancellor unveiled “one of the world’s most generous” financial support packages to help the self-employed through the coronavirus crisis.
It comes as a national display of thanks is set to take place this evening – when residents across the country will join in with Clap for Carers – to commend NHS staff and carers working during the coronavirus outbreak.
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BREAKING: The latest UK figures are in
University students have been warned that if they have not returned home already, they should now stay where they are.
In a letter to students, Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said:
While many students will already have travelled home, I know that those of you who have not, or cannot, will be concerned about what you should do now.
The Government’s advice is that students remaining at university in England should now stay where they are and not attempt to travel.
If you are living in student halls, or private rented accommodation, you should remain there and stay indoors while current restrictions are in force.”
The letter says that the Office for Students will provide guidance shortly on how students can complete their studies, covering areas including teaching and assessment.
It also includes advice on visas and student loans.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens revealed that 660,680 people have now signed up to volunteer to help the vulnerable get through the coronavirus crisis.
The response we are seeing from the public to join us in our country’s greatest time of need is extraordinary, and on behalf of everyone working in the NHS, I would like to thank each and every person who has signed up to volunteer – you will be, without a shadow of a doubt, helping us to save lives.
These are uncertain times for all of us, but they have shown the kindness of our country, and have highlight once again just how much people value the health service and every single person working in it.
And to anyone else considering joining the ranks of our new volunteer army: the NHS is always there for you, and now is your time to be there for us, and for each other too.”
The treasury has shared more details on the new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme:
Addressing the self-employed the Chancellor stressed they had not been forgotten, insisting “we are all in this together”.
He signed off the press conference:
By any international standards, the package we’ve outlined today represents one of the most generous and comprehensive ways to support those in self-employment anywhere in the world.
I would conclude by saying this: to all those who are self-employed, who are rightly anxious and worried about the next few months, you haven’t been forgotten, we will not leave you behind and we are all in this together.”
Labour MP Wes Streeting tweeted:
There are going to be a lot of self-employed people left in financial hardship even after this announcement: those who don’t have money to last until June, those who became self-employed more recently than the cut-off date and those earning over £50k with little/no savings.”
The Chancellor said he would look to address an inconsistency in self-employed contributions in the future when working to “right the ship” after the crisis.
Rather than be too specific right now about future tax policy, it’s just an observation that there’s currently an inconsistency in contributions between self-employed and employed.
And the actions taken today, which is very significant tens of billions of pounds of support for those who are self-employed treating them the same way as those who are employed, it does throw into light the question of consistency and whether that is fair to everybody going forward.
Especially as when we get through this and are chipping in together to right the ship afterwards making sure everyone is doing their bit as well.
And I think that is a very fair and reasonable observation to make at this time.”
He also confirmed the scheme will initially last for three months.
Mr Sunak confirmed that the scheme will be available “no later” than the beginning of June, prompting concerns among opposition MPs and other social media users.
Labour MP David Lammy tweeted:
Leaving the five million self-employed Brits without any support until June is a slap in the face. Many will be bankrupt by then. And why is there an eligibility cap for the self-employed but not the employed? This is not what I call fair.”
SNP MP Stephen Flynn tweeted:
I did hear June. What on earth are they doing. My constituents simply cannot wait until June. They need help, now. No wonder he didn’t announce it in Parliament yesterday.”
Liberal Democrat MP and leadership candidate Layla Moran posted:
80 per cent grant for the self-employed is welcome. But waiting until June does not give self-employed parity with those in employment.”
She added that it was a “huge missed opportunity” to implement a universal basic income.
The very recently self-employed will not be included in the Government’s new support scheme and must look for welfare support.
Mr Sunak said:
For those who are very recently self-employed, we cannot operate a scheme like this, there’s too much complexity both operationally and fraud risk with that, so we would have to say to those people please look at the extra support we’ve put into the welfare system to help you at this time.
But, as I’ve said, this covers the vast, vast majority of people.”
Taking a question on the scheme to help the self-employed, Mr Sunak said the average earnings of those not covered by the state aid were those earning more than £200,000 per year.
Of the people it does not cover, those last five per cent, those above the income threshold we set, their average incomes are about £200,000
We think what we have done is reasonable, proportionate and fair, and, like I said, covers 95 per cent of all self-employed people who make the majority of their earnings from self-employment.
I think it is a very generous scheme in that regard and treats them with the same parity as the employed.”
The Chancellor has tweeted segments of his address:
Describing it as “one of the most generous packages in the world,” the Chancellor confirmed that the self-employed will receive the same amount of income as furlowed employees.
BREAKING: Chancellor announces Self Employed Support Scheme
Rishi Sunak said the support package for self-employed people will cover 80 per cent of average earnings over the past three years.
LIVE from No10: Chancellor Rishi Sunak has taken to the stage to deliver the next step in the government’s economic action plan.
Here’s a friendly reminder that police will now take action against anyone ignoring the rules:
“The UK is going above and beyond in the search for a vaccine,” Boris Johnson has tweeted, after announcing a £2.1m boost to research:
The Government has so far failed to prioritise getting self-isolating medical staff back on to the front line through testing, the British Medical Association (BMA) has said.
Chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul told the health and social care committee that instructions to self-isolate if showing symptoms of Covid-19 were handicapping the NHS’ ability to deal with the crisis.
At this time of year, it is estimated that 10 per cent of the population could have a symptom of a temperature or a cough in a non-Covid situation.
We had situations where many GP practices and hospitals were understaffed, the staff themselves who were self-isolating were telling us they felt able to work but were following the guidance, and that if they were able to be tested they would come back to work.
It seems counter-intuitive that we are reducing our workforce when we need our NHS workforce the most.
On March 16 we heard from the Prime Minister an announcement that healthcare workers would be prioritised but that hasn’t materialised.”
Source: Evening Standard UK